GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers expects to play on Friday night in San Francisco. How much is in the hands of Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
“Whatever Mike wants me to do,” Rodgers said after practice on Tuesday. “We haven’t talked about play time yet. I’m not sure how long he wants me to play, but it’ll be good to get out there and get some work with the guys.”
That said, Rodgers doesn’t see a ton of benefit to preseason game snaps in his ninth year as a starting quarterback, and he doesn’t expect to play next week in the finale in Kansas City.
He has spoken before about how vanilla defenses aren’t much preparation for the regular season, and he doesn’t feel he needs to see anything from the first-team offense to feel ready for Week 1.
Assuming he runs some hurry-up, no-huddle on Friday night, Rodgers said that’s one thing worth working on in a game setting with the starting unit.
“It’s a little different tempo when I’m in there, because I’ve been in this offense for a long time,” he said. “I’ll set the tempo with my own pace and push the guys, and that’ll help.
“But we do it in practice. The tempo we practice at is so high, that’s where we get our conditioning in, so we’ve got to keep that going.”
Rodgers did some more work with Jordy Nelson on Tuesday, though Nelson once again was held out of the competitive, 11-on-11 periods.
With Nelson perhaps not playing in any of the preseason games, he and Rodgers will only get a handful of practices together before the regular-season opener in Jacksonville, but Rodgers believe it’ll be enough.
He cited a throw he made to Nelson during a one-on-one practice rep against Sam Shields, and right after the completion, Rodgers turned to QB coach Alex Van Pelt and said he could throw that pass with his eyes closed.
“Because I know exactly where he’s going to be,” Rodgers said. “That’s the beauty of us playing together for a long time.”
Rodgers has no qualms about the change to JC Tretter as the starting center, either. Not only has Tretter been the No. 1 center since the start of OTAs due to Corey Linsley’s hamstring injury, but he had nearly an entire training camp with Tretter as the top center in 2014, plus three starts last season.
“He has great attention to detail,” Rodgers said. “I feel really good with him in there.”
It’s about a lot more than just snapping the ball, too. Knowledge of the offense, communication, and mental acuity all play into Rodgers’ comfort level with Tretter, who handles cadence and snap-count variations with ease as well.
“At center, it’s an extension of the quarterback, because we’re calling the protections together and the runs together,” Rodgers said. “I need a guy I can trust in there to be my eyes when I’m looking downfield at the corners and the safeties pre-snap. I need a guy who can make the correct call at the right time and get us on the same page.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him, and I’m really impressed with his approach every single day.”
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